Career and Professional Development strives to review all employers and job postings in Handshake to confirm their legitimacy, however college students are frequent targets of fake employment opportunities. Scammers create postings that are difficult to spot or may send direct inquiries to you through email. 

Below, you’ll find some and examples and tips for identifying fraudulent job and internship advertisements to help get you started in evaluating whether an ad is legitimate or not.

  • You must provide your credit card or bank account numbers or other personal financial documentation. Do not give out any financial information at any point during your job-search process.
  • You are asked to provide your social security and driver’s license information in the initial application. Personal information should never be asked during the initial application process.
  • The representative tells you that the organization does not have an office set up in your area and will need you to help get the office up and running. This scam often includes a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions.
  • The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account, often for depositing checks or transferring money.
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check to deposit into your bank account.
  • Remember: Never process ANY financial transactions. For example, some organizations will ask you to cash the check or send the monies to other accounts. Once your bank or financial institution processes the scammer’s check or financial request, you may be informed the monies are invalid or “not real.” You will be held responsible for the funds the bank has sent at your direction to other accounts.

  • The position indicates a “first-year compensation” that is in high excess to the average compensation for that position type.
  • The salary range listed is very wide, e.g., “employees can earn from $40K – $80K the first year.”
  • The position initially appears as a traditional job. Upon further research, it sounds more like an independent contractor opportunity.

  • The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar organization—often a Fortune 500. Yet, the email handle in the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by representatives of the organization; this is typically easy to determine from the organization’s website. Another way to validate is to check the open positions on the organization’s website by checking their careers/jobs webpage.
  • The contact email address contains the domain or an @ that is not affiliated with the organization. Examples: @gmail, @yahoo, @hotmail. If this is the case, then verify that the email address matches what is found on the organization’s website.
  • You receive unsolicited email that is not specifically directed to you. Spammers/scammers can obtain student emails easily. If the unsolicited email references a referral from your career center, contact our office to verify the employer.
  • You are directed to a very basic website. Does the organization’s website have an index that tells you what the site is about; or does it contain information only about the job in which you are interested? Scammers often create basic webpages that seem legitimate at first glance.

  • The employer is hard to find. Scammers will try to keep themselves well hidden. Watch for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, organization name, or similar information, this is cause to proceed with caution.
  • The employer contacts you by phone, but there is no way to call the representative back, i.e., the number is not available.
  • The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. Typically, resumes sent to an employer are reviewed by multiple individuals or not viewed until the posting has closed. Note: This does not include an auto-response you may receive from the employer once you have sent your resume.
  • The interview is conducted online or over the phone, and an offer is given almost immediately.
  • The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
  • The posting does not cover the responsibilities of the job but instead, focuses on the amount of money to be made.
  • When you Google the organization name and the results include spam reports about the organization.
  • Google the employer’s phone number, fax number, and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag.
  • You can also use social media to research each employer, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

If You Encounter a Questionable Job Posting


  • End all communication with them and contact the police
  • Closely monitor your bank account for fraudulent activity
  • Contact your bank or credit card company immediately if you shared any financial information


  • Report it to the Emory Police Department
  • Contact Career and Professional Development if there is a university connection (i.e. you saw it in Handshake)
  • If the job/internship ad came through your Emory Outlook email account, click on the Report Phishing button in the toolbar
  • If you are using Outlook on the Web and missing the Report Phishing button on your Home Menu, follow this link on how to add it

Career and Professional Development does not endorse or recommend employers, and postings listed in Handshake do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation. The university explicitly makes no representations or guarantees about job listings or the accuracy of the information provided by the employer. The university is not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, or any other aspect of off-campus employment without limitation. It is the responsibility of students to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting private, off-campus employment and to thoroughly research the facts and reputation of each organization to which they are applying. Students should be prudent and use common sense and caution when applying for or accepting any position.